Excalibur in Arco, Trentino

This first part of 2022 continues to offer great challenges, after the first ascent of the Arenauta in Sperlonga in February, I allowed myself only a few days of rest before venturing into the second great enterprise of this truly stimulating year, which promises to be full of surprises and projects. At the invitation of two Italian climbers, Cristian Dorigatti and Morris Fontanari, I decided to attempt to free a new route called Excalibur, at Drena, near Arco in Trentino, where I live. The name is clearly due to the presence of a sword stuck in the rock at the base of the climb, a detail that makes this magical place even more fascinating.

This route was bolted a few years ago by Cristian and Morris but it was never climbed by anyone, including its two “inventors”, who tried it for a few days before calling me. It is a very short but equally demanding route, which puts even the most experienced climbers to the test: for this reason, I was called by them to finally try to open the line and succeed in what no one has ever done before. After a first attempt at the beginning of 2021, I accepted the challenge again this year with great enthusiasm and so here I am, for a few days, trying and retrying the route.

Obviously, I don’t expect to be able to complete it in a short time, so I consider these spring days as a “try” in anticipation of the final attempts I have planned for the autumn. In fact, the climate is getting hot and the climbing conditions will no longer be optimal, but I wanted to get to know Excalibur. It will take time, but I trust and hope to succeed by the end of the year!

A different undertaking than in the past: together with me, in fact, I also decided to call Adam Ondra, another exceptional climber that you all know and with whom I have already shared competitions, challenges, companies as well as a healthy rivalry. Facing Excalibur, I decided to put aside my personal ambitions. For once, it won’t be important who opens the route, Adam or me, but it will be more important to complete the challenge, helping each other and motivate us together. Whoever does it first!

So for once climbing, a traditionally single discipline, becomes a team sport in the name of a greater good: opening a new route of extreme difficulty! For a few days, Adam lived here in Arco and we tried Excalibur together, giving us advice, supporting each other and pooling our strengths and skills. We complete each other and with a healthy and constructive comparison we are confident that we will find the best methods and come back here ready in October. A beautiful team was born in which each one pushes the other towards their limits and continuous improvement.

Those with Adam were stimulating days and for a short time we were joined by another climber, Jakob Schubert, who also made his contribution to the team work. Now that Adam has returned home I have continued to try the route alone, and I will try it again before returning to my many summer commitments. But in the meantime with Excalibur I started this path not only as a professional, but also for my personal growth. A wealth of experience that I carry with me and that will certainly be useful to me in the months to come. With Excalibur we will probably meet again in  autumn, but in the meantime I will have other stimulating challenges for the warmer months.

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